July 31, 2014

Pam and Christine's Tips for an Overnight Flight

It's no secret that we love to travel.  Since Pam lived overseas five years, I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit across the pond on several occasions.  Pam became a pro at overnight flights and she is always willing to impart her wisdom.  So today, we're sharing our best tips for making overnight flights comfortable and productive so you can get some shut eye!

1. Prepare to sleep. On most transatlantic flights to Europe, the flight lasts somewhere between 5 and 7 hours; and red eye flights from the west coast to east coast are even shorter.  When you really start to think about it, that's not a long time to get sleep so that you can arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed at your destination.  We don't waste anytime with the dinner meal that's usually served about an hour into the flight.  Not to mention, who wants to eat mystery meat on an airplane?!  We board the plane with full bellies, ready to go to sleep the minute we sit down and are settled.

2. Pick your seat carefully.  On an overnight flight, the last place you want to be is stuck smack in the middle between two snoring people.  Of course it is easy picking a seat if you get to sit in front of curtain. If you are back in coach, it is critical to get the best seat for your needs.  Christine chooses the window, which gives her a place to rest her head while sleeping.  Pam always chooses an aisle, because she likes to be able to get up without disturbing others.

3. Medicate...if you wish.  We are big fans of a little medicated push to help get to sleep.  One tablet of a PM medication, such as Tylenol PM really does the trick.  We usually don't take this until we're safely on board to avoid any medicinally-induced awkward moments on the ground.

4.  Hydrate well that day.  To avoid numerous trips to the bathroom, do most of your hydration in advance of your flight.  Since the objective is to get some shut eye, needing to go numerous times will ruin that plan. Of course include a water bottle in your carry on bag.  Getting the flight attendant to refill it can be a struggle if they are busy.  Walk to the back of the plane once the meal service is complete and ask to refill it yourself.  I always make a joke so they agree to let me drain one of their large bottles of water.

5.  Compression attire. This is not a great look on most of us, but wearing compression leggings or compression socks will take the anxiety of a blood clot right off your radar. For years, Pam has been wearing these, but now that we are both runners, we wear fun colors too!

6.  Pack a stash of eye masks, ear plugs, toothbrush/paste and other necessities. It is very wise to have ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones tucked in your carry on ready for use as you embark the airplane. The possibility of someone snoring or possibly a crying baby near your seat can make a peaceful plane sleep difficult.  Pam always brushes her teeth before she steps on the plane too, so then it feels like bedtime! If you can't sleep without darkness, an eye mask is also a small item to add to your stash.  Christine likes to pack a pashmina for a makeshift blanket or pillow plus some things to refresh when she gets to her destination including her contact lenses, some face wipes, and facial moisturizer.

7.  Move around. While this goes against item #1 of wanting to sleep from departure until arrival, it probably is something we all should do.  Get up occasionally if you wake and walk a few steps to stretch your legs.  Your body will thank you very much the next day.

8. Get on schedule.  More than likely, you'll be trying to adjust to a radically different time zone upon arrival and we always try to adjust as best as possible to make the most of our trip.  No one wants to spend their first day in their hotel room napping!  Many flights offer a light breakfast about an hour or two before the plane lands.  While this may interrupt your sleeping, Christine is a fan of getting something in her tummy and getting on the meal schedule of her destination.  Plus a cup of coffee, never hurt anyone!

What are your best tips for making the most of an overnight flight?

July 29, 2014

The power of the group

It took me two years to have the courage to attend a Without Limits practice.  In that time period, I logged many miles, ran many races and did so with the help of a book and my best running buddy, Christine.  Reading as much as possible, I would write a training plan for my upcoming races and do my best to adhere to the plan.  What I did not realize until last October was the power of a group.  There are all kinds of running groups, from those organized by runners to get in your miles, to those run by a coach or group of coaches who train you from your diet, to training plan, rest periods etc.  I found two groups in Wilmington and the one that I ended up joining is coached by not one, but a group of coaches.  There are several groups within the unit, including one for beginning runners, a mid pack group, up to the superior runners who can place overall in large races. The options for practice with the group vary depending on your ability.  But more than anything, what I want to share in this post is the phenomenal power that joining a running group has done for me.

Some of the group at the Divas Half in April

Being out of your comfort zone is not an easy thing to do.  But it seems that most every week, we are given a new workout that takes us to a new level. Not only do we have interesting sets that are not always logical on a track, such as 500's or 700's, we sometimes leave the track to run around the college or on the nearby trails.  All of this, and the encouragement from other runners has made me a better runner.  And when you are struggling, there is always someone to pick you up, take you along and keep you going.  I have been positively inspired by this group of fabulous athletes, many who take on challenges such as triathlons, duathons, racing up a mountain, and of course marathoners and ultra racers.  It is hard to express in words the lessons and confidence you can get from joining a group.  Every one of us suffers through the highs and lows of a training cycle, but having camaraderie has made the workouts and especially weekend long runs so much more fun.

If you are scared and don't want to join because you do not think you are fast enough, are too old, too young, too fat, too skinny, do not worry.  Everyone has a fear of something new and believe me when I say that you will not regret it.  The power of a group is amazing and I wish every runner had the opportunity to be part of a group like mine.

July 28, 2014

A post-run scare

On Saturday, I set out for my first double-digit run that begins the slow mileage climb towards Richmond.  My 11 mile run should have been pretty straightforward, given I've been hovering around 10 miles in training runs and recently ran a half marathon in Napa.  I struggled through much of the run, feeling frustrated and out of sorts.  I found myself running a 2-3 miles at my planned pace (9:20 or under) and then would find myself using every excuse in the book to crap out. 

I'm tired. 

My tummy hurts. 

It's hot. 

Summer pace runs are supposed to be slower. 

You get the idea.  After 5 or so miles of this, I got my act together and was able to muster up some courage to finish strong.  Miles 6-8 were back on track.  And then, I lost it again.  The last 3 miles were a battle.  My legs felt like lead and I just wasn't feeling it.  I didn't finish at the pace I had hoped - the last two miles were 9:40 pace - but I got it done.  My overall pace was 9:36 which I can live with. 

Knowing how tough this run was, I immediately grabbed some Gatorade and headed for the tub for an ice bath once I got home.  I spent 10 minutes in the ice bath and as I was getting out, it hit me.  I felt really dizzy and nauseated.  I thought I might throw up.  And then I felt really lightheaded.  I've never felt like this after a run before and I immediately sat down and started googling.  Most results told me that I likely had an electrolyte imbalance, which I would probably believe.  I hadn't carried anything other than water on my run and took one gel at about mile 7.5.  So this made sense.  I eventually ended up laying down on the couch and taking a brief nap to recuperate. 

Having never felt like that after a long run, it was a little unnerving and really caused me to think.  How much water had I drank over the course of the week?  It turns out, that it probably wasn't nearly enough.  So this week, I'm setting out on a new quest - hydration.  I am good about drinking water, but given it's the hot summer months and I tend to be a heavy sweater (TMI, I know), I can probably improve.  And I know I can get better about electrolytes.  I am tossing another tube of nuun into my work bag to leave at my desk at work.

How do you stay hydrated in the summer months?

July 27, 2014

Weekly Roundup - July 27th

What a great week!  After last weeks less than stellar runs, it was important to get back on track despite summer heat and humidity still being ever present for outdoor runs!  I am still having some physical therapy for my leg and it is doing much better. And my amazing PT,  Jude, always puts me in the room with this picture on the wall because he knows it makes me happy!

This came in my email this week and of course it immediately was printed to take on our trip this Friday!

Dublin race information

 Now I can hardly contain my excitement knowing we will be in Dublin Saturday!  Packing has begun and figuring out how to fit three weeks worth of clothing, shoes and equipment into one checked piece of luggage is a treat.  Luckily, I am an under packer and if I need something, I guess I will figure something out.

Lulu is never happy when the packing begins
Workouts were definitely better this week and hopefully after a small taper Christine and I will be able to run well at the Dublin Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon August 4th.  Here is what we did to keep ourselves moving!

Sunday, July 20th
Pam: 9.65 miles at 9:45 pace
Christine: 9.65 miles at 9:45 pace

Monday, July 21st
Pam: 30 minutes elliptical, 750 meters rowing, stretching
Christine: 35 min yoga

Tuesday, July 22nd
Pam: 6 mile progression run, started at 10:00 and ended at 8:35 pace
Christine: 3.5 miles at 9:05 pace

Wednesday, July 23rd
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, leg weights, abs

Thursday, July 24th
Pam: WOL workout 6 X 600 at 7:32 average pace, total 3.5 miles
Christine: Unplanned rest day (worked a very long day and visited a friend's new born baby)

Friday, July 25th
Pam: 45 minutes elliptical, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, July 26th
Pam: 8 miles at 9:54 pace
Christine: 11 miles at 9:36 pace

Are you racing soon?

July 25, 2014

Paceband giveaway winners!

Happy Friday everyone.  Thanks to all who entered our giveaway for the Paceband silicone band.  We selected two winners via Rafflecopter.  Time for a drum roll please!  Congratulations to Danielle Golden Malaise and Kathryn Thayer.  You have both won a band of your choice.  Please email us so we can send you your prize.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay safe while out on your run!

July 24, 2014

Countdown to Rock 'n' Roll Dublin

It's a little over a week away until we'll be heading across the pond for one of our most exciting races of the year - Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon. Mom and I have traded many emails and phone calls about the race and things we want to do and see in Ireland.  To say we're both excited is an understatement!  Given that we won't have the internet connectivity that we normally would on a traditional race weekend, we've been very focused on staying organized for race day.  So hopefully our prep will help you!

1. Race Expo: We love a good 'ol race expo and we're very curious to see if there are any differences between a state-side expo and one in Europe.  This expo is a two day event on both Saturday and Sunday, 2-3 August.  It's being held at the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) in the Serpentine Hall.  Your waivers are being sent out today so check for these in your email.  This plus a photo ID is required to pick up your packet at the expo.  One thing to note about the race expo, if you need to change corrals, plan to hit up the Corral Change table at the expo to talk about your options. 

2. Race Course:  This year, the half marathon course is different and features some new city attractions like Ha'penny Bridge and the Royal Hospital.  It also includes big name spots like Christ Church Cathedral, the Guinness Factory and Kilmainhman Goal (the old jail). The Fun Run winds through Phoenix Park which will certainly be scenic.  Interesting factoid - Phoenix Park has a perimeter wall which has existed since the mid-seventeenth century and to this day, is one of the only walled parks in Europe.

3. Entertainment:  The Frank and Walters will be playing the finish line festival and there will be bands at every mile on the half marathon race course to keep you moving and grooving!

4. The medals are awesome!! 
Photo from Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Facebook page

5. Pace groups: Like many major races, there are pace groups for the half marathon.  And they have a wide range of desired finish times.  If you have questions about the pacer approach, we recommend stopping by to chat with them at the expo to make sure if jives with your race plan.

6. Course support: All major races should have course support in terms of hydration and fuel and Rock 'n' Roll races don't disappoint.  The Rock 'n' Roll Dublin half marathon course is equipped with water and blue and orange PowerAde without caffeine.  I have yet to participate in a race with two kinds of electrolyte beverage, so this will be a first! For fuel, there are PowerBar gels provided in the following flavors: Mango Passion fruit with Guarana and Hydro Orange.

7. Still want to register? Registration is still open until this Sunday, July 27th.  If you're interested in a discount on the Fun Run, use code NOVAROCKS to get 5 Euros off until Sunday.

As Rock 'n' Bloggers, we have each been provided with a free race entry into the Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon.  We are encouraged to support the race through social media and our blog, but are not required to do so nor are we compensated for this post.  All opinions are our own.

Any tips for my first European race?

July 23, 2014

Why I am deferring Marine Corps Marathon

When my email acceptance from the Marine Corps Marathon arrived earlier this year, I was ecstatic.  Having watched Christine train and run this special race last fall, it was on my bucket list of marathons  And to be lucky enough to win the "race lottery" the first year I tried to gain entrance made me feel very fortunate.

Christine sure made it look fun!

After a brief discussion with my running coach, it was placed on my race calendar along with the Rock 'n Roll Dublin, the Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach relay and the Tower of Terror 10 miler at Walt Disney World.  Maybe that does not sound like alot of races to the average runner, but recently I had an epiphany that this might be too ambitious a fall race calendar for me. Since training for the Goofy Challenge in 2012, in preparation for the January 2013 half marathon and marathon, there has been little break from running in my little world.  Racing has been so much fun, especially completing so many runDisney challenges over the last year including Dumbo, Dopey and Glass Slipper.

Here is what I learned from doing some research on the internet.  I found several great pieces on this subject including this one from Hal Higdon.  Most serious runners compete/run two to four marathons per calendar year.  They give there bodies plenty of time to recover and let's face it, this group is half my age. While my last marathon was March 16, 2014, I certainly could run the Marine Corps race in October.  But as a highly competitive individual, I know that I will be under trained due to my vacation plans and the other races on my calendar.  I did get some help in adjusting mileage to be able to run one long run of 20 miles, but quite honestly, it seems like a real push for me to be minimally trained for race day.  And so I made the decision.  I will defer my entry and hopefully be ready to tow the line for the 40th anniversary of Marine Corps Marathon in October of 2015.  Secretly, I hope that my sidekick will be there to run it with me too!

July 22, 2014

Race day anxiety

Have you ever dressed for race day and then panicked?  Are you always excited no matter how you have trained, eaten or prepared for a race?  It never occurred to me that race day anxiety even existed until I got to Asheville, NC last month for the inaugural half marathon.  Then it hit me like a truck. Yup, I freely admit that I had a huge amount of anxiety that morning. The reason why?  I do not eat hills for breakfast like some runners.  The place where I live is extremely flat.  Since I do not train on hills, a race that incorporates a huge amount of elevation change made me freak out race morning.  In fact, I nearly turned the car around and drove back to my friend's house.  However, I did get through the race and now have some thoughts on how to avoid this situation.

1. Know your race course This is sort of a given, but this seasoned runner did not do her homework.  You can avoid nerves about the race course itself if you go to the race website and study the course map and understand what you will face on race morning.  Better yet, take a practice run on parts or all of the course in advance of your race.

2. Go with a friend  If you have a buddy, it is much easier to stay calm the morning of a race.  If you are running solo, make friends on the bus to the race start, chat with someone in your corral or do whatever you can to stay calm.

3. Be prepared  Visualization is a great technique that can be utilized on race morning.  Think about what you plan to do, how you have trained to reach that goal and how much fun you will have running the course. Also, alleviate any things that could cause more anxiety by double checking all your gear the night before so it will be easy to get ready on race morning.  You don't want to be fumbling around at 5:00am looking for safety pins.

4. Understand the nerves  If you don't have any nervous feelings on race morning you must be super human.  Take them in stride and don't focus on anything negative. Most important, the more times you race, the better you will be able to control those feelings.

5. Believe and trust your training  If you are racing for a PR, it is highly possibly that you can psych yourself out from the moment you wake up on race morning.  Make sure you focus on something other than your time goal.  Self confidence and strong training will get you to your goal.  Believe, believe, believe.

Any other tips on how to diminish race day anxiety?

July 20, 2014

Weekly Roundup - July 20th

The weekends when the WRD girls get to be together are always fantastic!  After spending some time at the beach with friends, Mom and Dad came out to Chesapeake to spend a night with me before heading back to NC.  We enjoyed catching up, a really yummy lobster dinner, and brainstorming ideas for Dublin.  It's hard to believe that in two weeks we'll be prepping for our Rock 'n' Roll Dublin half marathon.  I find that when there's a fun trip that's part of a race, I'm much more likely to prepare a bit better from a running standpoint because I'm so darn excited. 

Sunday, July 13th
Pam:  11.5 miles, tough and sluggish long run!
Christine: 8.5 miles at 9:45 pace

Monday, July 14th
Pam: water aerobics class
Christine: Rest day (sick)

Tuesday, July 15th
Pam:  6 miles at 9:45 average pace
Christine: Rest day (sick)

Wednesday, July 16th
Pam:  35 minutes stationary bike, plank, situps
Christine: 4 miles at 9:01, 8:15, 8:01, 7:51 plus half mile cool down

Thursday, July 17th
Pam:  Without Limits track workout
Christine: 1 hour yard work, push-ups, sit ups

Friday, July 18th
Pam: 1 hour gym workout
Christine: 15 miles bike ride

Saturday, July 19th
Pam: 9.65 miles at 9:59 pace
Christine: 9.65 miles at 9:59 pace

Any fun plans for the coming week?

July 19, 2014

A big huge thank you to "my rock"

A little while back, I was approached by Red Envelope about a campaign they were launching to thank "your rock."  I've shopped with Red Envelope in the past; I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.  Basically they are taking the philosophy that it doesn't have to be a Birthday or a holiday to thank someone.  I am a huge subscriber to this philosophy so I jumped at this opportunity.  And I'm sure it will come as no surprise to any of you that I'm going to write about my awesome mama. 

As you all know, we started our running journey together in late 2010 with a goal of completing the Princess Half Marathon in February 2011.  And most of you know how that race turned out.  9-10 miles in, I began to feel pretty miserable and was pretty shaky and unsteady.  Somehow, Mom pulled me across the finish line (metaphorically speaking), with both of us being unaware that I would land in the medical tent shortly after crossing the finish line.  I never would have finished the race if she wasn't by my side.  She not only got me across the finish line, but she made sure I got a medal.  Full disclosure: she enthusiastically called yelled to a volunteer to get me a medal as I was being wheeled into the medical tent in a wheelchair.  True story.  She's awesome.
It all started here
After that race, running was a difficult topic for us.  She kept on running and improving her times; I quit running for the better part of the next year, feeling like I had somehow failed in that race.  And there were obvious emotional scars from that terrifying experience in the medical tent.  It took a long time - 50 weeks to be exact - for me to decide to return to running.  I wouldn't have dreamed of running another race with anyone else other than my mama by my side.  And of course she was primarily concerned about my health and took great care of me during that next half marathon.  It was the one year anniversary of our first, the 2012 Princess Half Marathon.  I still look at the photos of us crossing the finish line, this time with smiles and cheers, and I laugh, smile, and cry. 

Running buddies are a funny thing.  You aren't always in sync.  We've shared training runs and races where one of us was on cloud nine and the other was feeling beat up and less than fabulous.  The mother-daughter relationship adds a new dimension to that relationship.  At times, we butt heads.  At times, we get on each other's nerves.  No matter how many bad days there are, they pail in comparison to the good days.  Like the days when both of us PR or have a great training run.  Like the days we skip through a race taking pictures in Disney without a care in the world, and most notably our finish time.

A year and a half ago when she proclaimed that she wanted to complete the Dopey Challenge in honor of her 60th Birthday, I was nervous.  I had a lot of hesitations about running 48.6 miles in 4 days; I would think you would be a crazy person not to!  Through our 6-8 month training cycle, there were bumps.  There were insane highs and insane lows.  When I completed my first marathon as a precursor to Dopey, my phone was ringing within seconds of crossing the finish line.  My biggest fan had been sitting by the computer all morning tracking me and nervously awaiting my final time. 

We ran countless miles as we prepared for Dopey.  And through it all, she was always there, a text message or phone call away.  As we got ready to cross the starting line of our final race during that weekend, I was obviously a bit nervous...and tired!  But in contrast to that, I felt a calmness that I would be tackling this beast with Mom by my side.  My motivated, crazy runner mama.  We had our game faces on and planned to do work that morning.  I will never ever forget the rush I felt as we neared the end of that marathon.  Things like...running ahead to get the crowd pumped up for her in the final miles...telling her that we were killing our splits halfway in...yelling that we are "wrecking this marathon" when we passed Wreck it Ralph...seeing her after burners kick in when we got to the final stretch in EPCOT.  And the euphoria I felt when we ran down the finish stretch was unlike anything else.  Sure this will never be my first marathon, but it was a marathon (and then some) that I conquered with my mama holding my hand as we crossed the finish line, with PRs in hand. 
I am eternally grateful for her support, tough love, silly antics, and the friendship we share...and much of this developed from our shared running experiences.  So from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank my Mom for being my rock! 
Who is your rock?  How would you thank them?
Disclaimer: I was contacted by Red Envelope to participate in their #redGift promotion to thank you rock but received no compensation for this post.

July 17, 2014

Wearing a Pacebands bracelet and a giveaway

Disclosure:  Christine and I were each given a Pacebands bracelet.  No other compensation was received and the opinions stated here are my own.

Recently I had the opportunity to try out a Pacebands bracelet.  I have seen runners wearing these during races, and I actually made my own using pen and paper for a race last year.  Let's just say making your own is really not a great option!

So here is what arrived a month ago in my mailbox. Pacebands has a great website that let's you choose not only your pace but color of bracelet too.  I thought the yellow would be best for easy reading so that was my color choice.

I have taken my Pacebands bracelet for a test ride on several different occasions.  It has been a great addition to my long run gear.  The bracelet is very easy to read and after a minute you do not notice you are wearing it.  Best of all it can be used for training runs and race day. While a Garmin watch or running watch gives you your pace and time, this helps keep you on track for a goal.  When training or racing, having the ability to check out how close you are to your target time is so helpful.  I love being able to check after each mile and see if I am on track.  Actually, having several of these bracelets for different race distances would be nice!  Check out the webpage here and see which one is on your list.  And best of all, Pacebands is giving two lucky readers a chance to choose their own band.


 Follow the rules on our Rafflecopter link and you could be ordering one of these sweet silicone bands!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 16, 2014

Get Fit

Recently, our local newspaper started a series in the Health and Wellness section entitled, "Get Fit".  Of course this caught my eye and the first story included a 45 pound weight loss by a local resident.  Her inspiring story shared that she had gotten off several medications and enjoyed a happier life due to her new and fit body.  And any women is thrilled to update their wardrobe too!

The second article in this section included habits of highly fit people.  As a very competitive person, I wanted to make sure that each one of the items (seven total) were things that I do.  Here is the list and my assessment of how I am doing in each category!

1.  Set a goal:  In my mind, I get a star for this checklist item.  Even in everyday life, I seem to make everything into a game/goal.  My sisters and I joke that we will have wheelchair races when we are 100 years old and living in a nursing home!

2. Write it down:  I am working on my second runner's journal since taking up the sport nearly 4 years ago.  That's right, every workout has been logged and sometimes I even include a notation on heat or cold and if I struggled with the run.

3. How big are your portions? This is probably the one item of this list of seven where I probably have a few "fails" every week.  My addiction to ice cream sometimes takes hold and my portion could be close to a pint....yup, I freely admit it!

4.  Make fitness a priority Being active has always been a part of my life.  Scaling bookcases when I was less than 2 years old scared my mother and now, I try to play it safe by doing things like the Dopey Challenge for my 60th birthday!

5. Be prepared:  When I commit to a race,  everything I do revolves around that goal. Call me anal, but to get great race results, you need to be fully dedicated to the goal.

6. Plan your exercise: Do you plan your week of exercise or do you "wing it"? If you are not getting race day or weight results, perhaps you do not have an appropriate plan of attack.  My running plans and exercise program are now being managed by coach Sami through my running group.  However, my plan would not work for you and vice versa.  Make sure you are making good progress or change up things to get better results.

7. Be realistic: Everyone of us has different goals and physical things we wish to accomplish. While it is fun to chat about our goals, it is also important to realize that everyone needs to understand their potential.  My running group is called Without Limits, and I love the name because we all can achieve things we do not think are possible.  But that also will only happen with dedication, hard work and a great support crew.


July 15, 2014

Princess Half: We just keep on registering!

Today marks the day that general registration opens for the 2015 Princess Half Marathon weekend! If you are interested in participating in this royal event, be sure you're ready to register with your credit card information and other details (like proof of time, shirt size, etc.) at noon eastern.  The runDisney race registrations have been filling at record speeds so make sure you don't miss out!  We are both registered to participate in the 2015 Princess Half Marathon weekend - Glass Slipper Challenge for Christine and Princess Half for Pam.  AND we are so excited that Pam's sister, Alison, will be joining us for the half again!  It really is a girlie, family affair for us!

As many of you know, the 2011 Princess Half Marathon was our first half marathon so it will always be very special to us.  In honor of today's registration day, we figured we would share our Princess Half weekend experiences by the numbers.  So let's talk a walk down memory lane, shall we? 

Want to read more about the Princess Half?
2014 Princess Half Marathon Weekend: Half Marathon Race Recap; Inaugural Enchanted 10k Race Recap; Expo Recap

2013 Princess Half Marathon Weekend: Half Marathon Race Recap; Royal Family 5k Recap; Expo Recap; runDisney Meet-up

2012 Princess Half Marathon Weekend: Half Marathon Race Recap

July 14, 2014

Road to Richmond: Training Begins

This week marks my first official week of Richmond Marathon training.  I have an 18 week plan that will take me to race day and I'm feeling very excited! I had a very solid run on Sunday (despite head and chest congestion) that was a great confidence booster. 
By some small miracle, I was able to reserve a hotel room at one of the race host hotels.  When I was initially looking at hotels, all of the race rates were unavailable and the hotels were also showing booked.  I did a quick search on Travelocity and miraculously found a room at the Omni which is really close to the starting line and also has a shuttle to the expo.  Score!  I expect that I may have a spectator crew at the race but if I don't, I wanted to be sure that I would be within walking distance (and a short walk) of the start and don't have to worry about driving to the race start.
I'm still working through my specific time goal for the race.  I'm wavering between a truly bold goal and one that is lofty but more attainable.  I'm leaning towards the latter.  For now, I have a solid training plan, some new sneaks, and hope and excitement in my heart that I hope will carry me until race day. 
Is anyone else running Richmond?  Marathon registration is available now until Sept 30th for $100 - still a great rate!

When you hear from the race organization

Last week, I posted both my race recap and discussion of the other "extras" from ZOOMA Napa Valley Half Marathon.  In my post on the other race extras, I mentioned that we were a bit disappointed in the mocktail party.  We still enjoyed the party but were a bit perplexed by (our perceived) lack of ZOOMA presence.  It was one of those things where you sort of shrug and move on.  And we did....happily with our neon green shades and our yummy mocktails.

A few hours after that post went live, I received an email from the ZOOMA Community Manager letting us know that she and several other ZOOMA folks were there and apologizing that we missed them.  I was incredibly impressed that she reached out to me and appreciated her note and the fact that she read my post!  She also told me that they would consider our feedback for future race events.  Boom!  Go ZOOMA!  Now that's what you call customer service...and this, for a very minor thing in an otherwise, magnificently perfect race weekend.

How many other race organizations reach out to participants after they've provided feedback on an event?  I don't know of any.  Kudos, ZOOMA!


July 13, 2014

Weekly Roundup: July 13th

This week was all about getting back on track for me…in every aspect of my life.  After two back-to-back vacations, 11 days away from work with 10 of them away from home it's safe to say I was off my schedule a bit.  And while it sometimes feels easy to get back into the swing of life after vacation, this week kind of kicked my behind!  I was great about getting enough sleep, eating relatively healthy and working out (although not necessarily running), but my vacation mindset slipped out the window very quickly.  One of my favorite parts of both vacations (Napa and Lexington, VA) was getting outside to workout and doing some hiking and trail walking.  It was nice to explore some new areas too!

Sunday, July 6th
Pam: 6.50 miles running Newton Hills
Christine: 4 mile trail walk

Monday, July 7th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, push-ups, abs

Tuesday, July 8th
Pam: Group workout, 5.1 miles total including trails average pace 9:15
Christine: Unplanned rest day

Wednesday, July 9th
Pam: water aerobics class
Christine: 4.5 miles at 9:30 pace

Thursday, July 10th
Pam: 5 mile run, not a great one!
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, 15 min elliptical, push-ups, core work, lunges, squats

Friday, July 11th
Pam:  45 elliptical machine, plank, sit ups
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, July 12th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Walk with Paddy, push-ups, abs

July 11, 2014

Fitness Snapshots

The lovely ladies of DC have fitness snapshots as their Friday five topic and I thought it would be fun to share photos from some of the races we have run over the years.  Of course these are fun races where we dressed up in costume, and most involve the most magical place on earth!

In February of 2011, we ran our first marathon at Walt Disney World after training for about 5 months.  It was a day of excitement and alot of terror at least from my perspective!

October of 2012 we ran the Wicked 10k in Virginia Beach dressed in our Minnie outfits.  It was a cool morning and it was great having Christine's friend Jamie enjoy the race with us and then meeting Krissy afterwards.

Picking out a race costume for the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare challenge was fun and when Christine suggested "Tweedle Mom" and "Tweedle Daughter" for the half, I was excited.  Sewing is a hobby and it was a challenge creating the costumes for this race.

Christmas is my favorite holiday and running a 5k with a Christmas theme doubles my race fun, especially when I was allowed to create elf costumes.  In November, we did both the Wine and Dine Half marathon and Jingle Jungle 5k through animal kingdom in these crazy outfits!

My most favorite race ever with Christine had to be the culminating race of the Dopey Challenge, the Walt Disney World Marathon.  We had already run a 5k, 10k, and half marathon on the three prior days and this would be the ultimate challenge.  Our shirts were themed on the race, designed by Christine and we had an absolute blast slaying the Dopey Challenge!  

Less than a mile to the finish!
Thanks to Courtney, Mar and Cynthia for hosting another Friday Five linkup.  Please check out their pages too for more Fitness snapshots!

July 10, 2014

Running hills including heartbreak hill!

On Sunday, I had the good fortune of running with my sister on part of the Boston Marathon course.  We specifically chose the hills of Newton which are known to be arguably the toughest section of the course.  Alison who lives in the area, is very familiar with our route. I only had the vague memory on my car ride over the hills from back in the spring on my last visit to the area.
Pre run all smiles!
Into mile 18 of the Boston marathon, we started from Brae Burn Country Club parking lot just after the Newton fire station.  The first part was what else, uphill!  The air was clear, the sky was blue and it was not too hot!  Having Alison talking and keeping me company made the run much easier. While the first uphill is the steepest, the longest is the last at heartbreak hill. This is the one that most runners dread the most.  I actually thought that one was the least steep, but being the longest must be how it got it's famous name in the world of running.  In any case, after a brief stop at the top for a gel, we turned around and repeated what we had already done.  Actually, we added to our run by going to the corner of Route 16 and Commonwealth Avenue where the Newton fire station is situated so we had completed all the hills.

While this run went well, there are several things to note when attacking these hills.  My biggest form fault when running is my posture, and going uphill makes me tend to slouch even more than I already do.  So, concentrating very hard on Sunday, I tried to press my shoulder blades together as coach Kristen tells me at many of our running group workouts!  Next was a great tip from Alison.  She said to lift your feet slightly higher than normal on the uphill parts of our run.  Surprisingly, this made the assent of the hills a bit easier.  Finally, taking our time and not worrying about pace also was a huge factor in making this a successful run.

I'm really happy I had the opportunity to run this part of the course and on April 20, 2015, I will know exactly what I have to do during those tough miles in Newton.

Have you run the Newton hills?  Any tips or tricks?

July 9, 2014

Winners of Rock 'n' Roll VA Beach shirts!

Well friends, I am sad to say that almost none of you followed the giveaway rules but since we're nice gals, we'll let you win anyways.  So now our lucky winners for the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach training tee...

Aimee Sinopoli

Kathryn @ Dancing to Running

Meranda from Fairytales 'n Fitness

Jennifer @ Run Jenny Run

Jennifer K from Red Hair and Running Shoes

Kinniep from Barking Mad about Running

Lauren at Lauren's Glass Slipper

Mindy at Road Runner Girl

Elizabeth D 


Now since we don't have all of your email addresses, we need you to email us (werundisney@gmail.com) by Monday, July 14th to claim your prize!  Please let us know your shirt size (men's and women's s-xl) and mailing information and we will forward that to Rock 'n' Roll so they can mail you your prize.  Be sure to consider running this race too!  We ran Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach as a relay team a few years ago and loved it.  We are looking forward to this year's race too!

Happy beaching (and running)!
Pam and Christine

July 8, 2014

ZOOMA Napa Valley: Expo, Parties & Swag, Oh My!

One of the coolest aspects of the ZOOMA race events is the fact that they truly are a weekend event.  The race expos take place in the days leading up to the race, there's a mocktail party the night before and a post-race bash.  And all of these events were included with your race entry.  How fabulous is that?!  So let's chat about them, shall we?

The Expo
The expo was held in two locations, San Francisco on Thursday night and Napa on Friday afternoon, which was a pretty brilliant move if you ask me.  It accommodated both the "locals" from San Fran and anyone coming out to Napa for the race for the weekend.  We attended the expo on Friday afternoon which was at the Napa Valley Marriott…we walked down the hall from our room, which was a lovely perk of staying at the race host resort!  The expo was small but featured relevant, female runner-oriented vendors including Bia sport, Athleta, ZOOMA, and Honest Tea.  We enjoyed perusing the merchandise, chatting with the race pacers, and testing out new products.
Pretty typical packet pick-up
Loved the ZOOMA merchandise.  I totally would have bought
the pink tank except they were out of my size.  Bummer!
The Swag
ZOOMA definitely emphasizes a quality swag bag as part of their race entry and it didn't disappoint!  Each runner received a race-specific tech shirt, ZOOMA hat, Feetures socks, and a ZOOMA bag.  We also picked up some other freebies at the expo including travel Advil packets (brilliant!), Emergen-C, an Athleta headband and hair tie, and a Luna protein bar.  I also picked up several gels and some more nuun.  Gotta love expo prices!

Mocktail Party
Later that evening, we cleaned up a bit for the Mocktail party that was by the pool area and was also held at the Marriott.  Since this party was an official event for the weekend, we anticipated that there would be some ZOOMA reps there to keep people entertained, maybe sell entries to other races, and whatnot.  We were surprised to find that the only people who were really "in charge" of the party were the bartenders from Honest Tea.  And in fact, we didn't even find any of the race ambassadors but we could have simply missed them.
One of the most parts of the party - fun photos!
We enjoyed a mocktail that was made using the lemon lime Honest Tea, some juice and grenadine.  It was pretty darn tasty!  I also enjoyed some of the fruit they had set out but since we had recently eaten dinner, I wasn't terribly interested in most of the snacks.

And there were more freebies at this party!  We each picked up several Kind healthy grains bars and our awesome green shades.  There were some other snacks and generally it was a fun, relaxing event and a nice way to chill out the night before the race.

Post-Race Pool Party
Now when it comes to parties, the post-race party was the main event.  There was an area set up with food - bananas, apples, and wrap sandwiches inside.  The ladies of Goose Cross were hosting a wine tasting with several of their wines.  They also were giving out 2-for-1 coupons for a tasting at the vineyard….we took advantage of this later in the week!  There was also a live band and many of the other vendors from the expo were set up on the other side of the pool for al fresco shopping and product testing.  There were also massages on the other side of the pool and a yoga session under a shady area with trees.  The massage line was pretty long and it was really hot so we didn't stay very long.  And not to mention that after nearly 2 days of avoiding the vineyards before the race, they were calling our names!
A little wine by the pool
The fun events that ZOOMA hosted as part of the race weekend definitely added to the race experience.  And since they were included in your race registration, they were low pressure.  If you weren't able to stay long or fully take advantage of any of the food or beverages offered, it was no big deal.

If you're interested in reading about the race, you can check out my recap here.

Would "extras" like the ZOOMA events be a draw for you to sign up for a race?

July 7, 2014

ZOOMA Napa Half Marathon Race Recap

The ZOOMA Napa Half Marathon was without a doubt one of my favorite races.  I certainly didn't run one of my best times, I positive split the race in a major way (whoops!), and I woke up after having a nightmare that my Garmin was dead when I started the race.  But those snafus didn't stop me from having an otherwise magnificent race morning!

Cyanne and I woke up at about 6:00 to give ourselves plenty of time to be on the shuttle around 7.  We stayed at the Napa Valley Marriott which was the host resort for the race and added many conveniences, like the race shuttle leaving from our hotel.  I was definitely nervous before the race, mostly because I didn't feel terribly prepared, mentally or physically speaking.  I had run two 10 mile training runs before this race but neither went terribly well and my mental focus wasn't exactly where it needed to be.  I mean, hey, we were in Napa!
Race shuttle selfie!
Cyanne and I boarded the race shuttle at 7:00 and were quickly dropped off at the starting line area to find some hot air balloons over the vineyards.  Pretty fantastic!
Hot air balloons over the race starting area
And one more!
We milled around for a while before the 8:00 race start.  It was warmer than we expected so I ended up leaving my long sleeved throwaway shirt in my check bag because I really didn't need it.  The race announcer kept everyone pumped and shared important announcements.  With only 1,000 runners for both the half and the 10k races, it felt very intimate and also low key.  I was totally digging the vibe.
Bag check area with awesome volunteers
Pretty soon we were moments away from the start so Cyanne and I grabbed a photo and parted ways to start with our respective pacers.  Given that I wasn't feeling terribly confident about my preparation, I decided to start with the 2:00 pacer in an effort to control my speed at the beginning of the race course.  Note that this would have been a reasonable strategy had I not crashed and burned the second half of the race!

As the race started, I tried to keep my nerves at bay and settle into a comfortably easy pace.  The first two miles ticked away.  It was pretty easy - we were running down roads lined by gorgeous vineyards. I caught myself a few times with a goofy grin on my face, just grateful to have the experience to run this fabulous race course.  I slowly pulled away from the pacer, bringing down my pace to 8:55ish for the coming miles.  Miles 3-5-ish offered some shade as we ran down a residential street that also was dotted with grapevines.  As we turned a corner with vineyards all around and Tom Petty's "American Girl" playing on my shuffle, I smiled with pure joy.
While I didn't take this photo during the race, this was essentially
the view for the entire 13.1 miles
The second stretch of the race course (approximately miles 5-10) was much tougher.  It was completely flat but offered little shade and respite from the hot sun.  After I saw Cyanne and we gave each other cheers and high fives, I started to slow.  And I started noticing other girls start to slow as well; I had been running a pretty consistent pace with many of them so it made me feel a little better that I wasn't the only one struggling on the back half of this race.  From miles 7-9 I was hurting pretty bad and not feeling very confident so I got some support via text from Mom and Megan.  Around mile 11, I was able to rediscover my mojo and finish the last few miles much stronger.

The last 2 miles had some hills but they were a gradual incline so I don't remember it being much of an issue.  I tried to look around and soak up the incredibly gorgeous scenery that this race course offered over the last few miles.  As I made the turn to the finish line, I heard the announcer call my name and with much relief, I was handed a medal and a bottle of water.  I immediately chugged the water and then grabbed another bottle of water and a banana in search of some shade.
Happy with another half finish!
I stretched and chatted with some other girls, mostly lamenting the tough back end of the race course and noting that we all seemed to struggle.  A few minutes later, a fellow reader, Melinda approached me and we chatted for a while.  She gave me some great suggestions for wineries to hit post-race and we shared tales of our Old English Sheepdogs.  It was fabulous to meet her and I'm so glad we snapped a quick photo!
Happy ZOOMA half finishers!
I headed back to the road hoping to catch Cyanne before her finish and I was happy to spot her bright pink skirt headed to the finish.  I ran in with her and we both noted the challenging end of the race…a consistent theme here!  I was proud to see my friend cross the finish line and enjoyed our post-race celebration.

The Muscle Milk team was set up with yoga mats, foam rollers, and of course, Muscle Milk, for post-race recovery which was fabulous.  We both took advantage of the mats for stretching and I tried some of the vanilla Muscle Milk.  I wasn't a huge fan but I drank about half the bottle in a weak attempt to refuel with some protein.

We were easily able to retrieve our bags and catch the post-race shuttle back to the Marriott, where ZOOMA was hosting a post-race pool party complete with food, wine, and live music.  Is there anything better?!  I grabbed a wrap sandwich and Cyanne and I found the wine tasting booths.  I tried a Chardonnay from Goose Cross and she tried a red.  A few minutes later, it was going straight to my head so I decided to stick to water and wait until I had rehydrated for some vino!
Cheers to a fabulous half marathon!
I really loved this race.  For an inaugural event, it was incredibly organized.  The pre-race communications were fabulous and the race offered some great perks of bigger events - free runner tracking, FABULOUS swag (more on that in another post), a really friendly environment and great pre and post-race parties.  

I would highly recommend this race for anyone who is interested in a women's focused event in a fabulous destination!  Cyanne and I chatted about making this an annual race trip.  Napa, anyone?